AAP dares ED to file case against BJP, alleges it received crores from liquor 'scam' accused

Delhi Education Minister and AAP leader Atishi Singh with party leader Priyanka Kakkar addresses a press conference, in New Delhi, Saturday, March 23, 2024.
Delhi Education Minister and AAP leader Atishi Singh with party leader Priyanka Kakkar addresses a press conference, in New Delhi, Saturday, March 23, 2024.

New Delhi | The AAP asked the ED on Saturday to file a case against the BJP, alleging that the saffron party received crores of rupees from an accused in the alleged Delhi excise policy scam through electoral bonds.

Addressing a press conference, Delhi minister Atishi asserted that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has not been able to establish a money trail against any Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader despite multiple raids, arrests and two-year-long investigations in the alleged liquor scam.

"Two days ago, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was arrested in connection with the alleged liquor scam on the basis of Sarath Reddy's statement. On November 9, 2022, Reddy had said he did not know Kejriwal. After the ED arrested him, he changed his statement, saying he knew Kejriwal," Atishi said.

Reddy of Aurobindo Pharma was arrested by the federal agency in November last year in connection with the excise policy case. Atishi alleged that Reddy donated crores of rupees to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) through electoral bonds.

No comments were available from Reddy or his company over the charges levelled by the AAP.

There was no immediate reaction to the allegations from the BJP either.

A court on Friday remanded Kejriwal in the ED's custody till March 28 "for his detailed and sustained interrogation" regarding his role in the excise policy "scam".

Atishi challenged the ED to file a case against the BJP, alleging that the money trail in the case had reached the saffron party.

She alleged that the BJP received "proceeds of crime" in its bank accounts and said the agency should arrest the saffron party's chief, J P Nadda.

Union minister Anurag Thakur hit out at the AAP earlier in the day, saying, "The kingpin has been arrested and the one who gave us wisdom on morality and honesty says he will run the government from jail," the senior BJP leader said.

He said the AAP's links with liquor traders need to be found out.

AAP leaders, including Atishi, Saurabh Bharadwaj, Jasmine Shah and the party's chief national spokesperson, Priyanka Kakkar, slammed the BJP over the issue.

Atishi alleged in a statement that Reddy's company has given Rs 59.5 crore to the BJP.

"The companies owned by Sarath Reddy bought electoral bonds and donated money to the BJP. Now, this money trail has been exposed in front of the country. Reddy purchased electoral bonds worth Rs 4.5 crore while the excise policy was being formulated and after his arrest, he purchased electoral bonds worth Rs 55 crore and the money went to the BJP. So the money trail that has been sought for the past two years is here," she charged.

Bharadwaj told the press conference that serious questions have been raised against the BJP since details of the electoral bonds have come in the public domain.

Shah alleged that evidence and facts prove that the BJP has committed the biggest "political scam" in the country's history.

"We (AAP) have extensively exposed this open-and-shut case of political corruption by the BJP through this press conference. The AAP has placed all the facts before the people of the country," he said.

Kakkar said there is no evidence against AAP leaders in the excise policy case but those from the BJP keep claiming otherwise.

She alleged that the ED is targeting the AAP and its leaders for the last two years even though it could not find a penny worth of evidence.

Aurobindo Pharma bought electoral bonds worth Rs 52 crore with more than half of it going to the BJP, according to data released by the Election Commission.

The Hyderabad-based firm purchased the bonds between April 3, 2021 and November 8, 2023 and an amount of Rs 34.5 crore was donated by it to the BJP, Rs 15 crore to the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and Rs 2.5 crore to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

In June last year, Reddy turned approver in the case after a Delhi court allowed him to do so. Before that, the ED had accused him of indulging in unfair market practices to gain undue advantages from the liquor policy by conspiring with business owners and politicians involved in the excise case.

The ED has arrested Kejriwal, former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and AAP's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh in a money-laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the Delhi excise policy for 2021-22.

The AAP government scrapped the policy after Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in July 2022.

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